Utility finished 2016 solidly in the black, with a surplus of $845,581.83,
Superintendent Dave Ryan reported at the Utility Service Board’s meeting
Monday night. That compares to a projected surplus of $33,607.
looks like we had a pretty good year,” President Larry Brandt noted.
The surplus is
attributable to total operating revenues outperforming projected revenues by
$593,730.55 or 15 percent; and total operating expenses coming in under
projected expenses by $218,244.36 or 9 percent.
The bulk of the
unanticipated revenues were in tap-on fees (outperforming projected fees of
$147,000 by $273,899.55) and miscellaneous income (outperforming projected
income of $17,000 by $273,906.31.
expenses were less than projected in almost every category, with notable
savings in the following line items:
* Wages, salaries,
and benefits: $91,282.91 under budget.
* Purchased power:
$29,589.85 under budget.
* Materials and
supplies: $34,463.65 under budget.
services: $18,017.68 under budget.
$13,305.92 under budget.
In 2016, Chesterton
used 46.0 percent of its 3,688,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the
wastewater treatment plant (44.8 percent in 2015); Porter, 51.8 percent of
its 851,000 gpd allotment (49.2 percent in 2015); the Indian Boundary
Conservancy District, 63.4 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment (58.5 percent
in 2015); and the plant as a whole, 47.3 percent of its capacity (45.9
percent in 2015).
There was a single
sewage bypass last year, in July, when 128,000 gallons were released from
the plant during a power outage.
Total rainfall was
40.43 inches recorded at the plant, which made 2016 not a particularly wet
yea. There was, however, one very wet month: August, when 8.75 inches fell,
making it the wettest in Duneland since the Great Flood month of September
2008, when 18.15 inches fell, approximately 12 of them in the space of 72
Bids for the
In other business,
members voted unanimously to take under advisement the four bids received
for the overhaul of several of the wastewater treatment plant’s clarifiers.
The base bids:
* $768,300, Gaskill
& Walton Construction Company of Chicago Heights, Ill.
* $849,750, Bowen
Engineering of Indianapolis.
Thieneman Construction of Merrillville.
At its meeting last
week, the Town Council approved the use of $607,076 in surplus bonds to pay
for the clarifier project. Those moneys are left over from the $10.7-million
bond issued in 2013 to finance the Utility’s long term control plan to
reduce combined sewer overflows into the Little Calumet River; and from the
$2.1-million bond issued in 2015 to finance the Fox Chase Farms sewer
There are six
primary clarifiers and three secondary ones at the plant--the large circular
basins located just north of the Utility’s offices on League Lane--used to
remove solids from wastewater by first agitating the water and then
squeegeeing them out. The clarifiers are around 30 years old and in need of
a rebuild, Ryan has told the Chesterton Tribune.
The total estimated
cost of the project: between $800,000 and $900,000.
Credit Card Usage
Superintendent Dave Ryan reported that a growing number of customers are
paying their sewer bills with a credit card.
totaled 10.79 percent of all payments in 2016, compared to 6.75 percent in
2015, when the Utility first began accepting credit-card payments.
Election of 2017
The Service Board
also voted unanimously to re-elect Member Larry Brandt as president and
Member Scot McCord as vice-president, re-appoint Deb Schoenfelt as
secretary, and retain Harris Welsh & Lukmann as legal counsel.